Justice Daniel Kelly lost his Wisconsin Supreme Court seat to Jill Karofsky after getting his ass handed to him in the state’s primary election on April 7. Now, Kelly is indicating that he may rejoin a case that could end in the purging of more than 200,000 Wisconsin voters.
According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kelly had previously recused himself from a case that started in October when the Wisconsin Elections Commission notified residents that they needed to let officials know if they had changed addresses. Those who failed to respond would be removed from the rolls in 2021. In March, Kelly said in an interview with Capital Times that he was open to rejoining the case even if he had lost his seat. In a Wednesday order, he suggested that he plans to do just that but is giving those involved in the case an opportunity to formally object.
“The 2020 spring general election is now complete, so it appears the reason for my recusal from considering any aspect of this matter no longer obtains,” Kelly wrote. “I issue this order to give the parties an opportunity to state their position on whether I should recuse myself from considering the pending petition for review and, potentially, the merits of these consolidated appeals, before I make a final decision on my participation.” Kelly gave them until April 22 to respond.
Here’s the thing: The Wisconsin primary being held on schedule last week despite a national health emergency and social distancing guidelines was a controversial thing. The state’s Republican legislature was asked to allow absentee ballots and later asked to postpone the election. They refused both requests, and it’s widely believed that their reasoning was based on the idea that high voter turnout is bad for the GOP. So it’s pretty wild for a conservative justice who just lost an election to a liberal candidate to claim there would be no conflict of interest in deciding whether any number of Wisconsin voters should be purged especially before the general election coming up in November. The man lost by double digits in what is considered to be a key battleground state—one that President Trump narrowly won in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes.
Karofsky apparently agrees. Before last week’s election, she blasted Kelly’s plan to rejoin the case calling it “corruption in its purest form.”
“(He’s) basically saying, ‘Look, I’ll be there for you (to Republicans)—get me across the finish line on April 7 and I’ll be there for you come November,” she said.